New Orleans Pelicans star Zion Williamson was included on Team USA’s shortlist for the Tokyo Olympics on Thursday, one of 15 names added as the team prepares for the uncertainty of the list for an unprecedented summer.
Julius Randle of the New York Knicks and Zach LaVine of the Chicago Bulls, both in the All-Star Game for the first time this season as Williamson, were among those added to coach Gregg Popovich’s roster. There were already 42 players on the roster, which has now risen to 57 as USA Basketball tries to give itself options for the 12-man team.
There’s a good chance that even more players could be considered when training camp opens in early July. Team USA’s first game in Tokyo is scheduled for July 25, just three days after the last possible end date for the NBA Finals.
Team USA Managing Director Jerry Colangelo has lobbied the United States Olympic Committee and FIBA, which runs the Olympic tournament, to allow roster changes up to and perhaps even during the Olympics to accommodate players who could be involved in deep playoff runs.
The lists are usually set several weeks before the Olympics. No official opinion has been issued.
“It is important that we remain flexible and consider all players who can contribute to our efforts to line up the best possible US team,” Colangelo said. “Having a larger pool of players than we normally have is critical given all the uncertainties we face about availability.”
Among the names added to the list are Duncan Robinson of the Miami Heat and Christian Wood of the Houston Rockets, who have no national team background.
The other 55 players now on the list have played for the national team or participated in training camps in the past. Also added to the roster Thursday were Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks, Jarrett Allen of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Jerami Grant of the Detroit Pistons, Mitchell Robinson of the Knicks, Fred VanVleet of the Toronto Raptors, John Wall and Eric Gordon of the Rockets. . , Jrue Holiday of the Milwaukee Bucks and DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin of the Brooklyn Nets.